Hundreds of shopkeepers today took out a march in Chandni Chowk area alleging eviction of ‘pagdi tenants’ from their rented shops in the capital. “More than 10,000 pagdi shops in Chandni Chowk are being evicted by land mafia and local politicians through false cases and livelihood of over 50 lakh people is under threat, while over 50,000 people are already unemployed,” Chandni Chowk Jila Vyapari Sangh said in a press statement. A section of shopkeepers demanded amendments in the Delhi Rent Control Act.
The statement claimed that the recent move to vacate the pagdi tenants was an attempt to “destroy livelihood” of lakhs of people in markets like Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar and Karol Bagh. It claimed that recently five lakh shops were asked to vacate using Delhi Tenant Law where most of the shops are less than 20 sq ft and are being run by small traders.
Social Activist Rakesh Thakural said, “Pagdi shopkeepers have already paid full amount of their shops in the form of Pagdi to the landlords but are still treated as tenants considering the old law.”
The Pagdi Kirayadar system was launched before independence to avoid payment of excessive taxes to the British. The transfer of the property was as per a verbal agreement wherein the tenant was given a slip of rent payment while payments were made in full to the landlord. The system has been running successfully since then.